7 Questions You Should Always Ask ... Your Electrician / Installer
Believe it or not, there are a number of people who don't think it's important to double check the companies they're involved with. Thankfully, there's an easy way to determine your electrician/installer choice. Here's a list of the questions you should be asking.
"Are you a licensed installer/electrician?"
If you’re paying someone to implement something on your property, make sure they are licensed. It's a good way to see if they actually know what they’re doing, and it will save you money to have the job done correctly the first time.
"Will this be a permanent solution?"
Installations are usually a one time deal, while other electric work is extensive. If your electrician says they have a “permanent solution” for an electrical issue that actually requires annual upkeep, go with a different electrician.
"How long will it take to install?"
Having a time frame between you and your installer is important for multiple reasons. Knowing how long a project will take sets up boundaries for you and the contractor. You'll also know when the project will be finished, and the contractor will have a completion deadline to stick to.
"Does this project need a permit?"
Your technician should be able to answer this question. If not, one of you needs to find out. Make sure everything is being done legally so nothing sneaks up on you in the future.
"Is there anything I should know about the installation?"
You should definitely be made aware of the alterations that may occur during any installation process. Likewise, your installer should be informed on the nitty gritty of what you need and expect. This type of communication is vital to both the contractor and client for project satisfaction.
"How many times have you done this type of job?"
The answer to this question shouldn’t determine if you change contractors or not. Your installer / electrician should be fully trained and educated on the subject, even if it’s they’re first time. Proceeding to make sure they are knowledgeable on what they’re doing would be the only factor in hiring someone else.
"Will you be able to fix problems that pop-up after the installation?"
Find a reliable contractor. They should be willing to give you their personal contact information so they can respond to any issues that come up. If you have to go through piles of phone numbers and wait times to get help from the company you chose, find a different one.
We Are More works on all type of jobs, so we've had the experience of answering these important questions. Commercial and residential electrical installations are our specialty. If needed, we'd be more than happy to set you up with the perfect technician for your next project. Let us know how we can help!
5 Things in Your Home/Office That Amazon Alexa/Echo and Google Nest/Mini Can Connect To
In 2020, about 157 million smart speakers were owned in homes across America. The most popular of these speakers are Amazon Alexa/Echo and Google Nest/Mini speakers. Most people only use these smart devices for audio entertainment purposes, like listening to music or podcasts and so on. However, these speakers have a lot more potential than you think.
Within the Amazon Alexa app and the Google Home app, you can connect to multiple compatible smart devices that you may already have in your home or office. Using the voice assistant smart speaker, you can control more than just your tunes. Below are seven compatible automations that you can connect to your smart speaker today.
1. Smart LED Light Bulbs
Turn your lights on and off from anywhere that your speaker can hear you.
2. Smart Locks/Deadbolts
Forgot to lock the doors before getting into bed? Just tell your speaker to do it for you.
3. Smart Thermostats
Adjust the temperature in your house or office with your voice.
4. Smart TVs
Not all televisions are compatible with smart speakers, but a number of newer TV’s are. Just double check to make sure yours is one of them.
5. Security Cameras
Like TV’s not all cameras are compatible but the ones that do are worth checking out!
For a more detailed explanation on specific compatible smart devices click HERE for Amazon Alexa/Echo, and HERE for Google Nest/Mini.
Home Automation Ideas
Have you ever thought about having an automated home but don’t know where to begin? We get it. One of the beauties of home automation is the amount of choices there are. After the first smart home installation, people will often want to do more add-ons and configurations. Unfortunately, those vast choices can also make people feel overwhelmed. If you’re one of those people, We Are More can help you out.
Here's a list of automation ideas to get you started on your smart home journey:
Possibly one of the easiest and best automations to start with is audio! Get quality speakers installed that blends in with any home style. Create music zones for sections of your house, only play it where you want it, play it in every room, or have music travel with you as you walk through the house. Put a music keypad in each room for a “push to start” on any genre you want. Customize your own music scenes for lights to dim or change color and play at any volume on command. Have a waterproof touchscreen installed to your bathroom for music freedom in the shower. Install ceiling speakers to the outdoor patio and throughout the house to have unlimited sounds no matter where you are in your home. The speakers could also be used for broadcasts in larger homes or offices so you can relay a message over the speakers. The options are endless.
Security is great to start with because it not only gets you in the groove with automation but it keeps you and your family safe. Have We Are More install top of the line security cameras, alarms, and lights at a winning price. Touchscreens can be set in place so you can see who’s at the front door without having to leave the room you’re in. Your TV can even be configured to show all cameras when you want it to, but you’ll get instant alerts and notifications whether you’re home or not. Each family member can also be given their own lock code for the house and you can create new one’s for visiting friends and family. Or if you go on vacation your house can be put on “Mockupancy” mode to activate lights so intruders think you're actually home.
Speaking of lights, another simple automation to begin with is LEDs! We say LEDs because they are the best type of lights in brightness, energy efficiency, and they’re long lasting. Install some LED colorful light strips to any room for easy modernized lighting that connects to a smart app. All automated lights can be voice activated as well. Have touch light switches installed for lighting control with dimming and brightness. Set lights to a certain percentage when walking into any room and turning off when you leave. Never worry about forgetting to turn off the lights again! Landscape lights can also be set to turn on at night and turn off when the sun comes up. Entertainment nights can also have the mood set with a “party” scene that allows lighting to be displayed wherever you decide and your favorite playlist will come on.
Losing the television remote is not fun. With home theater automation and smart remotes you’ll never lose your remote again. Home theater light switches sync with and automate your remote to beep after three taps. Home theaters can also sync with your security system to lock all entry ways when you sit down to watch a movie, switching the room into theater mode which slowly turns the lights off. If you need a bathroom break, pausing your film will automatically turn the lights back on at a low setting. This way you aren’t blinded but can still see where you’re going. When theater mode is activated you can also have your TV, speakers, and shades motorized to set the mood. Parents also appreciate the “good night” mode to turn off all televisions in the house, ensuring their kids go to sleep when they’re supposed to.
These are just the basic and popular options, but there’s really no limit to automation customizations. There’s also climate control, eco-friendly and energy efficient ideas, voice control and command options and so much more! If you’re interested in any of the above or even have some ideas of your own you want to bring to life, let We Are More help you out! Find more detailed information and ideas at Control4.
All information was found on www.control4.com. No copyright or infringement is intended.
5 Things Your Parents Never Taught You… About Technology
If your parent is a "Baby Boomer," as a young child, you probably weren’t raised around technology. What a wonderful thing! To some degree.
The world of technology is a dangerous realm for those who are uneducated in how to use it correctly. Most of us learned so much about technology on our own that we were the ones teaching our parents about it. By the time tech started to be widely used by parents, children were grown up and using technology like pros.
Technology users have adopted their own way of thinking about technology in terms of how to use it, and how it's been allowed to use us. So if you're someone who's technology usage was discovered without parental direction, here are five things that I can guess you learned on your own instead of from your parents.
1. Automation might steal your job one day.
It’s true. A lot of people have already experienced this through the years. Some jobs taken over by technology weren’t such a bad thing, and most people think that technology wont come for theirs because they aren’t working in a factory or some other line up job. The truth is, technology is advancing so much that it’s in the process of stealing work that we always thought would require people. Cashiers, bartenders, bank clerks, postal workers, and even doctors will have their work taken away from them in the near future. Don't believe me? Look it up!
2. Smart devices can either run and ruin or enhance and convenience your everyday life.
When you allow technology into your life, in any form, you have to set up boundaries to keep it in check, instead of allowing it to control you. Take into account how many hours you can sit in front of a TV, or how you rely on your dishwasher so much that if it ever broke you’d freak out over the fact of washing your dishes by hand! These are just small examples, but controlling your intake and view of technology is important for not letting it alter your life in a negative way.
3. How much screen time is too much.
As mentioned before, start off with some self control. Then you can gauge the amount of time that’s healthy to be spending in front of screens. If you find yourself losing time instead of gaining it, you may be giving yourself too much screen time. If your smart devices take up more of your attention than your spouse, children, or job, then I’d say that’s too much screen time. If your phone is more of a distraction than a resource, you’re allowing too much screen time. Get the picture? Give yourself a healthy balance.
4. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).
I don’t know any parent, even today, who has or is teaching their children about FOMO. It’s a disease of the mind. It plays into the struggle of too much screen time and technology control. The fear of missing out on everyone else's lives or thinking you’ll be totally secluded from the rest of the world if you aren’t refreshing your feed every five minutes is destructive in so many ways. It's making people reliant on their smart devices. When's the last time you went somewhere without your phone? Taking time away from the news, social media, your timelines (etc.) is needed to be yourself nowadays. Thinking you have to look, act, talk, and feel like everybody else or you need to be up to date on the latest thing to feel important or in the loop is what FOMO does. Set your boundaries, don’t allow the FOMO destroy your perspective.
5. The benefits of automated installations.
Most parents haven’t taught their children the benefits of home and business automation. Rightfully so. Spreading this information isn’t at the top of everyone’s to do list; except here at We Are More. The basic benefits include savings, safety, convenience, and control. Be the generation that teaches your children what automation can do for them!
Experts Share Ways to Fortify your Home Without an Alarm
When you think of ways to fortify your home, the first idea that may come to mind is to install an alarm. While alarms are a great way to ward off intruders, they are often only useful once a break-in occurs.
Though alarms can be handy, there are many other ways to prevent your home from being a burglar’s next target. Simple additions such as posting security signage, using smart sensors, and leaving your car in the driveway can deter intruders from the start. To help you get started, we reached out to security experts from Upland, CA to Lahaina, HI to share their best tips on how to fortify your home without an alarm. Here’s what they had to say.
Remove red plastic handles from garage doors.
We recommend removing the red plastic handles attached to the rope on garage doors to fortify your home. The red handle makes it easier to snag with a coat hanger, allowing a thief easy access to your garage. They know most people don’t lock the door leading to the garage, and this is an easy way in. – Bluefax Property Management
Install security shutters.
Security shutters retract when you’re home, but when you’re gone or want privacy, you can flip a switch or push a button on your smartphone and drop them down within seconds. Most criminals and opportunists won’t bother to tamper with a security shutter system. The shutters also help protect your house from storms, winds, and fires and help control light and noise. – Enviroblind
Add a motion detecting flood light.
We suggest adding a motion detecting floodlight by the front door or garage to scare off any potential burglars. Remember to always lock your doors & windows and never leave your valuables in visible sight from a window or glass door. – APS Security and Fire
Always leave a car in the driveway.
A tip to make it seem like you are home is leaving a car in the driveway. Former burglars say that seeing a car in the driveway is a sign that someone is home, so they will avoid choosing that house. If you don’t have an extra car to leave, you can ask a neighbor to park their car in your place. This way there will always be a car in the driveway. – Fortress Security Store
Install a garage door security device.
Think your garage door is locked and secure? That seemingly smooth massive entry door to your home actually has a flaw in its design which allows criminals to break into your home in seconds. With a simple coat hook and door wedge, criminals can break into your garage door. Install a garage door security device over the release mechanism to block access to your property and fortify your home. – Garage Shield
Post security signage to fortify your home.
If you don’t have an alarm, post signage of a security system on display in your front yard, by the door, or by a visible window. Just because you don’t have an actual security system installed, doesn’t mean the intruder will know. You can use plaques, stickers, decals, or yard signs, which makes this a friendly hack for protecting your home. – Limitless Security Solutions
Don’t use a keyless deadbolt.
Don’t use a deadbolt that doesn’t take a key. Most doors have windows next to them that can be broken and the door easily opened. – American Wiring
Reinforce your doors with door jamb kits.
Reinforce your doors with strong deadbolts and heavy-duty strike plates to prevent them from getting kicked or forced open. Adding a door jamb reinforcement kit puts an even stronger layer of protection on these doors. – Fort Knox Home Security
Use landscaping to your advantage.
Plant shrubs and hedges not only for privacy and aesthetics but also to eliminate hiding places in order to fortify your home. Also, keep the greenery neat and trimmed. Overgrown yards send a message of neglect and may lead criminals to target your home. – City Building Owners
Consider smart sensors.
Use smart sensors for doors and windows that notify you when there is activity in a certain part of your house. Using available software, these sensors send notifications directly to your mobile phone. This is also a great way to manage entry if you have teenagers. – Hubsai
Combine motion and pressure sensors with speakers.
Instead of using an expensive, certified alarm system that is connected to a security company, people have now started compensating by combining motion/presence sensors and music speakers. When people go to sleep they can set up night-mode automation, and from this point on any motion sensor triggered on the ground floor will turn on the desired sound on your connected speaker. This is very similar to an alarm and much less expensive.” – 1home
Install security cameras.
If you want to watch for intruders, but you don’t want someone watching you, plug your indoor cameras into a smart plug that turns on when you leave and off when you return home. – App My Home
Leave spare keys with someone you trust.
If you have a spare key, don’t hide it somewhere outside your house like under a doormat. Give it to a trusted neighbor or relative to keep at their house instead. The smartest thing to do is keep it with you, but the second-best thing is to leave it with a friend. – We are More Solutions
Originally published on Redfin.com
7 Ways To Deal With Frustrating Clients and Customers
If you’ve ever worked for a company that deals with people, you know exactly why having the aloha spirit throughout your workday can be a challenge. We Are More has had the privilege of working with amazing people. Not everyone has the same experience, and we know this from some of the previous service jobs we've had.
In the service industry, the phrase that “the customer is always right” has played a huge role in demeaning service providers and causing high levels of stress in their work environment. There are multiple factors that go into stressful situations, but knowing how to deal with frustrating customers is a means to surviving in any socially interactive job.
1. Understand that the customer isn’t always right.
You’re probably thinking, “I know, that’s why there’s an issue!” However, when you truly understand that the customer isn’t always correct, you don’t get as defensive when they try to prove you wrong. Everyone knows what they know, and if you know you’re right, give them some slack in finding out that the worker knows best.
2. Understand that you aren’t always right.
We know the industry we work for, we went to school/had education and training in our field, we’ve been employee of the month etc. etc. etc. Accomplishments sometimes create a sense of pride that forges us into thinking we know everything there is to know about what we do. Unfortunately, we don’t. You will never stop growing in your field, no matter how long you’re in it. It’s okay to take advice and consider counsel from customers. Knowing we aren’t always right gives us the perspective of learning instead of picking up an annoyance every time someone corrects us. Consider learning from your customers instead of immediately judging them.
3. The service industry requires servers.
If you work in a face to face job, you need to have a passion to serve others. A lot of people end up hating their service jobs because they don’t find joy in doing things for others. Instead they find more joy in their personal achievements and their time off. Evaluate why you might get frustrated so much. It could be that lending a helping hand is more of a chore than a reward. When we shift our view from “I feel like a slave” to “I’m helping someone have a better day/life/year,” it’ll make you want to do more than complain about how awful the customer was.
4. Allow the customer to win.
Sometimes customer arguments spur out of both the worker and client wanting to be in charge. When this happens, let them. Ask, “How would you like me to handle the situation?” or “What would you like me to do to fix the issue?” Put the reins in their hands so they can have a sense of satisfaction, and you can get off the hook if something in their plan goes wrong. Letting them win is a win for you too.
5. Realize different cultural expectations and backgrounds.
New York was named the rudest city in America and the sixth most unfriendly city in the world. Due to their fast paced daily environment, New Yorkers can come off as rude, arrogant, and unkind. In Hawaii those behaviors are extremely disrespectful, but being pushy is normal in New York. When we meet someone with different mannerisms as us, it can come off as something it’s not. Patience will lead to realization and give us more compassion towards different people. We can’t always assume that someone is out of character when they’re just being themselves.
6. Remaining calm is key.
Take a moment to breathe. Most times stress erupts from us not staying calm in any given situation. If we get upset, the customer gets more upset and it’s downhill from there. When someone you’re helping becomes flustered for whatever reason, do not mirror their response or talk back or talk over them. Speak slowly, allow them to express their concerns, try your best to understand where they’re coming from, and acknowledge their emotions while controlling your own.
7. Take breaks.
Maybe you’re struggling to work through your own stress in personal life and you’re taking it out on people at work. Remember to remove yourself from certain situations when you feel like it’s not something you can handle. Rather than adding to your stress, step out, take a break, or in extreme situations you can even deny offering the service all together. Ultimately, whatever option will give the customer the best experience is the way to go.
Your actions are meaningful. No matter how great you are at your job, how you treat people will establish long lasting relationships with customers even when issues don’t get resolved. Quality work is what clients expect, but finding a quality worker is what keeps them coming back. The relationship you build with people will outweigh any bad experiences they encounter with your business and you can count on good reviews by simply showing them you care.
Digital door and window locks. Keep your pets safe by making sure all exits are secured. If you leave home in a rush and forget to lock your pet in, just use your smart device to automatically do it for you. It’s that simple, and more than worth it.
Install a doggy smart door. Smart doors for dogs are a great way to ensure your pup doesn’t have to spend hours alone without a bathroom break. It’s especially good for owners who are too busy at home or gone at work most of the time. Smart pet doors allow dogs to go in and out of the house without having to wait on you, and you can control the smart door from your phone.
Smart thermostats. We all get too hot or too cold from time to time. So do our pets. Leaving them in extreme temperatures for long periods of time can lead to more than dehydration. Keep your pets comfortable in well ventilated areas and temperature control. Smart thermostats can be controlled from your smart device or put to a set temperature so you never have to worry about your dog.
Video Chat control panel. It might seem silly at first but take some things into consideration. Dogs know our voices. We can give them comfort just by speaking. So imagine being away from a dog with separation anxiety (which most dogs have) and being able to pop on a video call with them throughout the day to see what they’re doing in their secluded area and even talk to them. We Are More installs smart devices that can double as a control panel for your home and a camera for a little facetime with your pup.
Remote treat dispenser. These dispensers also double as a camera so you can keep an eye on your dog from your smart device and throw them a treat from miles away. It’s a great way to keep your dog occupied on treats instead of wondering where you are.
Smart dog toys. Talk about keeping your doggos occupied! Smart toys give playtime to your dog when you can’t. Don’t feel bad about not being able to play with your pet, just get them a smart toy!
Automatic pet feeder and pet waterer. These smart appliances are perfect for those that don’t have time to feed themselves before work cause they’re too busy making sure everyone else has breakfast! Or for those who simply forget to feed their dogs at the right time. Automatic feed and watering will relieve stress from busy pet owners.
GPS pet tracker and activity monitor. If you can find a good pet GPS device you should get one. These smart collars track your pet even when you’re home, and allow you to monitor their activity without needing to be in the same room or place as them. It’s good for those who are still in the training phases with their pets, or even for pets that have a high chance of slipping out the door. Forget the stress, just track them with GPS!
There are so many things to use for keeping your pets safe, busy, and happy while you’re away from home. Just remember that they’re the right age to be left alone, and that you get them used to the sounds and uses of any products you introduce them to before leaving the house. Dogs make us happy and keep us entertained, we can do the same for them!